AUSTIN, Texas — Verizon is offering basic internet access, internet service and cellphone service to Americans in an effort to keep the nation’s broadband providers afloat.
The announcement Friday came as the company faces intense pressure from the Federal Communications Commission to increase competition in the broadband market and to help consumers access the internet, especially during times of economic hardship.
Verizons new offering, dubbed the “internet for everyone” is the first of its kind, the company said in a statement.
“The internet for everyone program, which is expected to be fully operational in the next two weeks, will offer an unprecedented level of internet access for Americans and will provide all of our customers with the ability to access the net and the internet on demand, anytime and anywhere,” said John Legere, chief executive of Verizon.
For example, Verizon’s new internet service will be offered in more than 120 cities and towns across the country.
In addition, Verizon is also offering wireless internet access through its new “wireless broadband service” which is currently in testing in parts of the Midwest.
Verizon has struggled to maintain a competitive broadband market in recent years, losing millions of subscribers and revenue.
Its wireless service was discontinued in 2014 after the company paid nearly $1 billion in fines for illegally throttling and slowing the speeds of some customers.
But the company is still able to offer services such as video calling, text messaging and music streaming, which are more widely available today than in the past.
As the number of wireless subscribers has declined, Verizon has been moving to expand its services and services like VoLTE, a data-hungry technology that lets mobile phones use the same cellular network as a landline phone.
Lebgere said the internet for everybody program will provide the same level of basic internet service to all customers, which he said is the “most important thing” that Verizon has done for its customers.